Producers have announced that the three actresses from the original season at London Theatre Workshop will reprise their roles in the upcoming Southwark Playhouse season. The show will run at Southwark Playhouse from 6 July – 30 July 2016 Helen Sheals (CBS Judy), Belinda Wollaston (Palace Judy) and Lucy Penrose (Young Judy) will be joined by a further cast of nine actor-musicians, playing a variety of historical figures who featured heavily in Garland’s biography. The rest of the cast (also transferring from the original production) are Don Cotter, Rob Carter, Amanda Bailey, Joe Shefer, Tom Reade, Harry Anton, Carmelia Brown, Chris McGuigan and Perry Meadowcroft. Set primarily during the filming of ‘The Judy Garland Show’ in 1963, Through the Mill chronicles the production difficulties behind the scenes, intercut with the young Judy Garland’s rise to fame through MGM in the 1930s, and her triumphant sell-out concert engagement at the Palace … Read more
Ray Rackham’s play is infused with enormous passion for its subject, a woman who touched the lives of millions with her extraordinary singing and irrepressible charm. A witty and thoughtful piece, Through the Mill looks at snapshots from key moments from Judy Garland’s life, which demonstrate the interplay between her overwhelming professional life and personal struggles. Exceptional live music – delivered by various members of the cast – and a busy set partitioned for various stages of Garland’s career lends itself to an immersive and often powerful theatrical experience.
Happily, Oh! Carol provides a thoroughly entertaining and exuberant cross-section of Sedaka’s work. There are the hits but also lesser remembered works, and truly no number in the playlist is dull or unworthy. For the most part, the songs covered were co-written with Greenfield, and the lively, interesting patter tells the story of the highs and lows of the Sedaka/Greenfield partnership with wry objectivity and respectful affection.
The Spitfire Grill is a musical treat. James Valco’s score is richly rewarding and creates a genuinely engaging musical atmosphere which helps shape and drive the narrative. He creates a true musical world for the characters and, within that world, each character has tunes and phrases which assist in illuminating them and their part in the story. It does not feel like a Sondheim score, but it has a similar effect. The songs are derived from the situation, the place, the pulse of the narrative; they are not grafted on as afterthoughts or fancy trimming.